CALEXICO â€“ Spreading joy, good times and cheer, hundreds of Calexico residents gathered Thursday evening at Calexico City Hall to celebrate the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
With smiles on their faces, dozens of families, city officials and Santa Claus himself, enjoyed a cup of warm champurrado along with flavorful pastries.
â€œThis time of the year is when we are at our best,â€ said Luis Castro, mayor of Calexico. â€œWith the lighting of this tree, we hope for a safe and happy holiday season.â€
Those who arrived early were treated to free tacos and savory kettle corn. However, all attendees also received a raffle ticket and a chance to win one of the numerous prizes donated by the Calexico business community.
â€œThe city is going through so much right now, that this little moment of joy they are spreading means a lot to us residents,â€ said Carmen Santana, a Calexico resident. â€œChristmas time seems to bring out the best in everyone and the city is not an exception. Not only are they here celebrating with us, but the fact that they are also giving out gifts says a lot.â€
Santana added she hopes the new year brings in good changes for the city and its residents.
Council member Armando Real said it was important to have kids from throughout the city in attendance to enjoy the event and get into the spirit of Christmas.
Eight-year-old Carina Torres said she was excited after she was one of the lucky ones to win a doll during the raffle.
â€œI like my doll,â€ said Carina. â€œI want to go home and play with my doll.â€
Others took the opportunity to take pictures with Santa and use the photos to send to families as Christmas cards.
â€œMy kids are so excited to meet Santa and take pictures,â€ said Albert Cota, a Calexico resident. â€œMy family and I come out here every year. We really enjoy this celebration.â€
The Calexico High School Mighty Bulldog Marching Band also spiced up the evening with various performances.